COMEDIAN EARNS HIS ACT­ING CHOPS

Southern Gazette (Victoria Park) - - Look Local - Sara Fitz­patrick

WHEN Heath Franklin met the late Mark ‘Chop­per’ Read at a photo shoot, he was hoping for rare in­sight into the man he'd been im­per­son­at­ing for sev­eral years. That didn’t hap­pen. “It was just a bit awk­ward to be hon­est,” the Sydney comedian said.

“He was very mono­syl­labic and that was that; I sup­pose it’s hard to take it too se­ri­ously when some kid comes along dressed like you in a fake mous­tache.

“He said ‘im­i­ta­tion is the sin­cer­est form of flat­tery’ a few times but I think he was just go­ing with the PR line he was given.”

Franklin, who made his TV de­but in The Ron­nie Johns Half Hour sketch show in 2005 and was nom­i­nated for a Lo­gie in 2006, has been im­i­tat­ing the in­fa­mous Aussie crim­i­nal for about 12 years.

“Chop­per has al­ways been as­so­ci­ated with ex­treme vi­o­lence but some­how gar­nered a lot of fans,” Franklin said.

"I never re­ally had much to do with the orig­i­nal Chop­per, I just re­ally loved the Eric Bana film and the way his char­ac­ter swung be­tween su­per-charm­ing and amaz­ingly vi­o­lent, which is in­cred­i­bly use­ful in com­edy.

“If some­one who looks like me stands up on stage and tells ev­ery­one he wants to kill a park­ing in­spec­tor ev­ery­one goes ‘oh, that’s a bit much’, but when you add a ridicu­lous mous­tache and some glasses then all of a sud­den it's more be­liev­able.”

Franklin per­forms along­side fel­low co­me­di­ans Arj Barker and Frenchy at Rot­tofest 2017.

Heath Franklin

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